Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility Group Highlights 2020

Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility Group Highlights 2020

A special thank you!

Yet another year has gone by, and what a year it has been! The COVID-19 pandemic has affected each and every one of us in so many ways. Despite all, 2020 was a successful year for Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility, demonstrated by the number of reviews we published and other accomplishments we proudly share with you in this letter.
We would like to extend a special thank you to you all – our editors, authors, peer reviewers, and translators. Your dedication and perseverance during these unprecedented times has been remarkable!  Thank you! We wish you a wonderful new year full of hope and new achievements.
Cindy Farquhar, Madelon van Wely, Marian Showell, Elena Kostova, Helen Nagels, Melissa Vercoe & Angela Beros


Angela Beros

We would like to welcome our new assistant managing editor Angela Beros. Angela joined the Auckland office in November and her work will focus on review updates. We are very pleased to have Angela join our team. Angela is a lawyer who also works one day per week for a plant and food research institute.

Katie Stocking

In December, Katie Stocking officially joined our editorial board as a statistical editor. Katie is a Medical Statistician at the University of Manchester, England.  Katie’s research interests include optimising the design and analysis of clinical trials. She specialises in methodology for gynaecological and fertility research. Welcome, Katie!

Knowledge translation   

In 2020 we also took part in various knowledge translation (KT) initiatives. We joined #EndometriosisAwarenessMonth and #PCOSAwarenessMonth. We have remained active on Twitter and we saw a large increase in our follower base in 2020 (currently 1042 followers!). Our twitter posts were seen more than 155,000 times this year. In 2020, we published 5 blogshots and 2 podcasts.
In February, Elena joined a KT working group in Cochrane focusing on evaluating knowledge translation. The working group organized two Cochrane Training Webinars on KT evaluation. The first webinar Part 1: Tools to plan and evaluate your knowledge translation activities introduces simple tools to plan how to evaluate your KT activities and includes a 20 minute presentation by Elena
 about our experience with joining online health awareness campaigns and using Twitter Analytics as an evaluation tool. The second part, facilitated by Elena, focuses on evaluation methods and using surveys Part 2: Collecting and analysing feedback.
The KT evaluation working group was instrumental in the development of the dedicated  tools and resources page available on the Cochrane training website.

Our case story about our experience with using social media analytics for evaluation has been included in the training materials.
Using social media CGF case study
Our COVID-19 Fertility and Pregnancy Data   
Coronavirus image

We continue to update our Excel sheet with data extracted from all published reports on pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in women with confirmed COVID-19. To our knowledge, no other such detailed, weekly updated, and freely available database exists. Our
 COVID-19 dedicated page 
remains the most-visited page on our website.

Furthermore, as already reported, Madelon and Elena are taking part in the preparation of the largest living systematic review on COVID-19 in pregnancy, a collaboration with the University of Birmingham and the World Health Organization (WHO). The initial version of the review Clinical manifestations, risk factors, and maternal and perinatal outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 in pregnancy: living systematic review and meta-analysis was published in the BMJ in September and included 77 studies. The first update is in preparation and close to submission. Furthermore, our collaboration has been featured in the Cochrane Library supplement Collaborating in response to #COVID19 - editorial & methods initiatives across Cochrane.
COMMIT / priority-setting partnershipCOMMIT logo
PSP logo

We are delighted to announce that earlier this month the COMMIT and PSP research priorities papers were published through Human Reproduction and Fertility & Sterility. This is a fantastic achievement which many of our editors and authors were involved in. We would like to give special thanks to our own Dr James Duffy and Professor Cindy Farquhar for leading this important work.
Through this initiative a minimum data set, known as a core outcome set, has been developed for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews evaluating potential treatments for infertility. Consensus definitions to accompany these individual core outcomes, contextual statements and a standardized reporting table have also been developed.
Embedding the core outcome set within RCTs and systematic reviews should ensure the comprehensive selection, collection and reporting of core outcomes. The Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility Group, along with research funding bodies, the Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trials (SPIRIT) statement, and over 80 other specialty journals, have committed to implementing this core outcome set. Our group will implement the core outcome set in 2021.
The top 10 research priorities were identified for four areas: male infertility, female and unexplained infertility, medically assisted reproduction, and ethics, access and organisation of care for people with fertility problems. We anticipate that identified research priorities, developed to specifically highlight the most pressing clinical needs as perceived by healthcare professionals, people with fertility problems and others, will help research funding organisations and researchers to develop their future research agenda.
The publications are:

Developing a core outcome set for future infertility research: an international consensus development study Human Reproduction | Fertility and Sterility
Standardizing definitions and reporting guidelines for the infertility core outcome set: an international consensus development study Human Reproduction | Fertility and Sterility
Top 10 priorities for future infertility research: an international consensus development study Human Reproduction | Fertility and Sterility
Sarah ArmstrongCGF editor Sarah Armstrong recently won a 2-year sub-specialty training post at
Oxford, and leads the VALUE study.
 Value study
VALUE IVF add-ons: the quantitative and qualitative evidence behind their use
VALUE is a multi-national study taking place in the UK and Australia. The PIs for both countries are Cochrane authors and editors and the study has been inspired by the paucity of evidence to support the routine use of IVF-add ons informed by Cochrane reviews. VALUE has the following three aims:
  1. To survey all IVF clinics in the UK to establish which add-ons are being offered, at what cost, and what information is offered.
  2. To undertake semi-structured interviews of patients, clinicians and embryologists to explore their opinions and beliefs surrounding add-ons.
  3. To review the interpretation of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) traffic light system, to better understand the information required by IVF patients, clinicians and embryologists when making decisions about add-ons.
The qualitative semi-structured interviews will take place in both the UK and Australia. We aim to interview 120 participants across the two countries. We will perform reflexive thematic analysis of anonymised transcripts.
The objectives of VALUE are as follows:
  • To improve how information and evidence on add-ons is shared with all stakeholder groups.
  • To better understand the factors all three groups face when deciding whether to use add-ons (autonomy versus beneficence and non-maleficence)
  • To improve the informed consent process for patients considering add-ons
Recruitment is now under way and if you would like to know more, please visit
The study is prospectively registered here.
Online editorial meeting 
After a highly successful online editorial meeting that took place on June 30 via Zoom, we are planning another editorial meeting in early 2021. If there are topics that you would like to discuss, let us know!
Special Collection: In vitro fertilisation - effectiveness of add-ons

The Special Collection In vitro fertilisation - effectiveness of add-ons was published in October. The collection includes Cochrane reviews assessing available evidence for specific IVF add-ons. This Special Collection aimed to summarise these reviews to support health professionals and people undergoing IVF, to make decisions about offering or using IVF add-ons. The special collection, co-developed by editor Sarah Lensen and Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility Group, contains 11 reviews published by our group.  Since its publication, the special collection has been accessed more than 2500 times, making it the most popular non-COVID special collection on the Cochrane library for that period!

IVF add-ons Dr Sarah Lensen

Click here to access the special collection In vitro fertilisation – effectiveness of add-ons on the Cochrane Library. 

Our Evidence and Impact Factor   
The 2019 Journal Impact Factor for the Cochrane Library is 7.890. The 2019 Impact Factor for the Gynaecology and Fertility Group is 6.383

In 2020 we published 2 protocols, 6 new reviews, and 21 updates making 29 publications in total!


New reviews